It was a bit of a sad day yesterday.
I’d been experiencing the inevitable guilt fest people like me go through when someone young, vital, and full of love dies.
God alone knows why he takes the ones that want to stay, and keeps those of us that would be thrilled to be beamed up Star Trek style to the great beyond down here.
Yesterday young Stephen Sutton finally died at the heartbreaking age of 19, after a four year battle with cancer, who, before thumbing a lift to the afterlife, raised a staggering £3.2m (and rising as we speak) for the Teenage Cancer Trust by working his way through a 46 item bucket list and being sponsored along the way, after having been told that his cancer had spread and that he didn’t have long to live.
Whilst most people (i.e. me) would have, on diagnosis, sighed pitifully, settled back under the duvet (assuming I ever emerged from it in the first place) and intermittently slept and stared wistfully into space whilst everyone (I don’t know ‘Who?’ OK? Just go with this willya?!) ran around doing shit for me.
I might have stretched myself a little by planning an Ealing Comedy style will/inheritance challenge scenario to torment my family after my demise, pitting them against one another whilst alive by way of pre match training. 🙂
But that would be it.
Not this kid. He was a fucking whirlwind and did not waste one second of his life. He grabbed it by the throat and made it work for him and for those in his position, and had a blast doing it. Did being in pain, sick, nauseous or weak get in his way?
Not for one single moment.
He even completed his exams and got A*s aplenty in the process.
And whilst he’s been doing this?
I’ve been vegetating away at home doing squat for pretty much two years.
Oh the shame…
I and others with mental health issues have no doubt wished for death at least a couple of thousand times in our lifetimes; and it still happens. I do try not to because (a) it doesn’t work, (b) it’s an affront to people who are dying and very much want to live, and (c) unless I am woman enough to crash the party and boogie along to the mortal coil shuffle, it ain’t happening.
I did it again yesterday though. One more time.
As I’d have given anything to take this kid’s place.
Not for me. But for him. Because for less than 2o years, the world was a better place with him in it.
And my heart aches for his mother and loved ones.
If you are trying to guilt me into taking an active part in life God, it’s starting to get to me, y’hear!
I had to go to the dentists today and be fitted with some god awful medieval oral contraption in order to stop me gnashing my remaining teeth to chalk. Mincy (https://sistasertraline.wordpress.com/2014/04/24/rubberneckers-of-the-world-unite/) went to great pains to be nice to me again, bless him, and I feel vile for judging him before. Anyway it was hardly a barrel of laughs but at least it got me out of the house.
Afterwards I must have walked for miles and miles. Rain was forecast and I didn’t have a brolly, but whilst the dark clouds were never far away, I didn’t get wet. And as I walked I tried for once to see the good stuff and be thankful and mindful.
The sun on my pallid little phis. The breeze in my hair. The soundness and solidity of my body.
My back didn’t ache. My head didn’t hurt.
I wasn’t the person over the road being screamed at by his scary, chavvy partner.
A toothless, snot nosed little cherub beamed at me as I walked past.
I got a cheeky wink from a huge roofer as I passed under some scaffolding (what is it with me and big, dirty geezers?!).
My freshly washed cotton trainer socks were not rolling up and chafing my heels like they usually do.
The way my stomach relaxed as a long, luxurious, silent-but-deadly fart exited my body as I passed a gang of surly looking school kids <Man! You is rank!>.
And my fully functioning, almost full , hot water bottle of a bladder, insistently reminding me to stop for a loo break already.
Nothing is perfect.
At least I didn’t wet myself.
And I am here.
An animated, corporeal lump of meat, bones and blood perambulating along the street.
And for once? Bordering on grateful. Or at least trying to be.
I catch a late lunch and sit in the late Spring sun, nursing a latte, pondering my next move, and when I think about the last year, some things have changed, and I am better than I was. Aunty C would be thrilled to hear me say that as she is very pro my recognising what she sees as my triumphs.
I am less angry and aggressive.
I get out and about a bit more.
I earned some money.
I am learning to live with loneliness.
I am learning to forgive. Properly.
But I can’t carry waiting for something to happen all the time as the days of my life whizz past.
In health, I give others good advice. Everyone says so.
In fact I’d go so far to say that I give really good advice. Everyone use to come to me for it.
But it’s that age old thing, innit. Physician heel thyself and all that. But maybe it’s time I tried.
Time to book an appointment with…me.
Yes, I’ve finally lost it.
I hope that God has put meat on your bones and colour in your cheeks, young Stephen, and that you get to keep on partying hard in the afterlife, along with some well earned rest.
Do me a favour though, and give the Man Upstairs my best won’t you?
I just want to make sure He hasn’t forgotten to put my name on the guest list.
Lots of love